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Kingmakers: The Invention of the Modern Middle East

Kingmakers: The Invention of the Modern Middle East

By Karl E. Meyer and Shareen Blair Brysac
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A Question of Values

A Question of Values

By Morris Berman
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Tag: Barack Obama

Generic Unemployment
connectedmichigan.com

National Unemployment Hits 8.5%

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has put March’s unemployment rate at 8.5 percent, the highest in a quarter-century. After 15 consecutive months of job loss, more than one in 12 people (who are looking for work) are unemployed.

Posted on Apr 3, 2009 READ MORE


The Irrelevance of Race

Not even three months have passed since Obama’s historic inauguration, and already it tends to slip the nation’s collective mind that the first black president is, in fact, black. There may be hope for us after all.

Posted on Apr 2, 2009 READ MORE


This Is the Truth on Drugs ... Any Questions?

Finally, after America has frittered away billions of taxpayer dollars arming Latin American death squads and incarcerating more of its own citizens on nonviolent drug charges than any other industrialized nation, the government is starting to re-evaluate federal narcotics policy.

Posted on Apr 2, 2009 READ MORE


Capitol dome
Flickr/Sam Ruaat

Senate Gives Budget Plan the Go-Ahead

Although the congressional GOP contingent wanted nothing to do with it, President Barack Obama’s $3.53 trillion budget package made the Senate cut on Thursday evening, passing with a 55-43 vote. 

Posted on Apr 2, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / cursedthing

House Passes Mega-Budget ’09

Not a single House Republican voted for Barack Obama’s $3.6 trillion budget, but that didn’t stop the Democrats from passing it 233-196. The Senate is on its way to passing its own version, but the real clamor is over whether the final product will end up with reconciliation provisions that would filibuster-proof the president’s health care and energy proposals.

Posted on Apr 2, 2009 READ MORE


Blagojevich
AP photo / Seth Perlman

Blagojevich Racks Up 16 Felony Charges

It’s now eminently clear that former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s media blitz to gain sympathy after he was ousted from office in January hasn’t helped his case, as he was charged with a whopping 16 felony counts on Thursday. However, Blagojevich wasn’t in Chicago to receive the bad news in person—he was vacationing near Disney World with his family.

Posted on Apr 2, 2009 READ MORE


America’s ‘Long War’ Will Be as Bloody and Pointless as Europe’s

The Thirty Years’ War occupies little space in the school texts of the English-speaking world, but its futility comes to mind when Richard Holbrooke speaks of the war he is supposed to manage, now the Af-Pak war.

Posted on Apr 2, 2009 READ MORE


The Nobelists vs. Obama and Geithner

The president’s plan to bail out the banks reveals a deference to the existing financial system that puts him at odds with Nobel Prize-winning economists Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz.

Posted on Apr 2, 2009 READ MORE


Putting the ‘Care’ in Health Care

Sadly, we have developed a system that rewards procedures over primary care. The incentives tip toward the kind of medicine that is performed with hands, tools and technology over the medicine that is practiced with eyes, ears and mind.

Posted on Apr 2, 2009 READ MORE


Silence Meets Despair of Afghan Women

Afghanistan’s women are no longer in vogue. President Karzai has just signed a law that forces them to obey their husbands’ sexual demands and in general again consigns them to lives of brutal repression.

Posted on Apr 2, 2009 READ MORE


Revised Campaign Poster

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Posted on Apr 1, 2009 READ MORE


60 Days

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Posted on Apr 1, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Joel Ryan

How Many World Leaders Does It Take to Change a Light Bulb?

Following a private audience with the queen of England, President Obama joined a reception and dinner with other world leaders from the G-20 summit. What happens when you get Silvio Berlusconi, Hillary Clinton, Nicolas Sarkozy, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Prince Charles and J.K. Rowling in a room? More wine, please.

Posted on Apr 1, 2009 READ MORE



nytimes.com

N.Y. Race Too Close to Call

Voters in New York’s 20th District will have to keep waiting to find out who their representative in the U.S. House will be. After a special election, the Democrat led by just 65 votes, with thousands of absentee ballots still to count. The contest received national attention and was seen as a test of President Obama and his agenda, though the district skews Republican. Update: The lead shrinks.

Posted on Apr 1, 2009 READ MORE


Obama in Europe

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Posted on Apr 1, 2009 READ MORE


Kathleen Sebelius
AP photo / Susan Walsh

Another Nominee in Tax Trouble

This has gone from coincidence to self-parody to alarming. Another of Barack Obama’s nominees has had to apologize for not paying her full taxes. Kathleen Sebelius, the president’s pick to lead the Health and Human Services Department, has now paid off $7,918, a paltry debt compared with Tom Daschle’s $140,000.

Posted on Mar 31, 2009 READ MORE


Seattle’s Lessons for London

A former police chief of Seattle—who directed the harsh action there against 1999’s WTO protesters—has changed his views on protests, as well as on drugs. The G-20 leaders meeting in London should heed his words.

Posted on Mar 31, 2009 READ MORE


Boycotting Obama at Notre Dame Is Vulgar Zealotry

In respect to tradition, one would expect Obama to deliver Notre Dame’s commencement address in May, but a crowd of Fighting Irish have decided to try to keep the new president away from the hallowed campus for fear that some of his thinking might rub off on them.

Posted on Mar 31, 2009 READ MORE


auto industry
fordnewsblog.wordpress.com

Blurring the Line Between Business and Government

President Obama grabbed the proverbial steering wheel on Monday, shaking up the American auto industry by stating tougher conditions for receiving federal subsidies and forcing GM’s CEO to step down. But critics are wrong to suggest that this represents an unprecedented use of executive power.

Posted on Mar 31, 2009 READ MORE



roamagency.com

Amy Goodman on ‘Standing Up to the Madness’

The “Democracy Now!” host talks about her book, the state of activism and why “the media are the most powerful corporations on Earth—more powerful than any bomb, more powerful than any missile.”

Posted on Mar 31, 2009 READ MORE



roamagency.com

Amy Goodman on ‘Standing Up to the Madness’

The “Democracy Now!” host talks about her book, the state of activism and why “the media are the most powerful corporations on Earth—more powerful than any bomb, more powerful than any missile.”

Posted on Mar 31, 2009 READ MORE


Where’s the Outrage Over Workers Getting the Shaft?

The AFL-CIO spent $250 million in last year’s elections on behalf of Obama and other Democrats, yet a waffling president and a handful of senators have managed to kill the proposed Employee Free Choice Act, a cruel defeat for labor.

Posted on Mar 30, 2009 READ MORE


Cars, Banks and Confusion

The president is telling Detroit to shape up or die while at the same time politely asking Wall Street, whose recklessness and greed caused this economic crisis, if it would be so kind as to accept another heaping helping of taxpayer funds.

Posted on Mar 30, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

Obamas Hire Merrill Lynch Decorator

Although they’re allotted $100,000 to redecorate, Barack and Michelle Obama will spend their own money updating the White House. The first family has turned to Michael S. Smith for the task. The designer has worked for Steven Spielberg, Rupert Murdoch and former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain, whose decorating habits have come to epitomize corporate greed.

Posted on Mar 30, 2009 READ MORE


Obama
cbsnews.com

Obama Zeroes In on Afghanistan

On Sunday’s “Face the Nation,” President Obama did his best to convince CBS’ Bob Schieffer, and by extension the American people, that he knows what he’s doing in escalating U.S. military operations in Afghanistan—and that this won’t be his Vietnam.

Posted on Mar 30, 2009 READ MORE


Not Limbaugh’s Crowd

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Posted on Mar 30, 2009 READ MORE


Obama Pokes Iran

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Posted on Mar 30, 2009 READ MORE


Change You Can Translate

If there is a trend in democratic nations now, it is toward younger politicians who express disenchantment with the status quo, more by questioning past approaches than by offering fully worked-out alternative systems.

Posted on Mar 30, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / richardefreeman

Obama Team Scraps Auto Bailout

The Obama administration auto task force has sent both GM and Chrysler back to the drawing board, turning down requests for additional loans until the companies come up with more realistic restructuring plans. The government will prop up GM for two months while the automaker tries again. Chrysler has 30 days.

Posted on Mar 29, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / Anatoli Axelrod

GM Chief Booted in Bailout Deal

GM CEO Rick Wagoner resigned Sunday, apparently at the request of the Obama administration as part of a larger bailout agreement. The ouster of the man who gave us the Hummer wasn’t entirely unexpected. He spent the last eight years driving the world’s biggest car company into a ditch. Now if only we could apply this logic to the banking bailout. Update

Posted on Mar 29, 2009 READ MORE


Frank and reporters
AP photo / J. Scott Applewhite

We’re Paying Congress for This?

Congress’ work has often offered us transparency and has usually led to useful, progressive legislation. And now comes Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank’s choreographed extravaganza in the House of Representatives, supported by an echoing committee, with sound bites worthy of a night in the Borscht Belt.

Posted on Mar 27, 2009 READ MORE



What You Dig

Here are the five most-read stories of the last seven days, including Chris Hedges on America’s moral meltdown and Robert Scheer on the economic incompetents who find easy employment in the Obama administration. Full list after the jump.

Posted on Mar 27, 2009 READ MORE



Jonathan Shapiro on ‘The Tyranny of Dead Ideas’

Matt Miller, a host of KCRW’s “Left, Right & Center,” has written a book full of necessary honesty and courage—a welcome effort to rid us of the nostrums and shopworn notions that cloud our thinking and constrain our politics.

Posted on Mar 27, 2009 READ MORE


Newspapers’ Self-Inflicted Wounds

Most newspaper postmortems insist that decreased ad revenues brought on by the Internet and the recession caused journalism’s problems, but a look at the vapid celebrity-obsessed pages of the nation’s ever-thinner rags tells a different story.

Posted on Mar 26, 2009 READ MORE



U.S. Army / Staff Sgt. Adam Mancini

Obama to Send Even More Troops to Afghanistan

President Obama is expected to order 4,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, on top of the 17,000 previously announced and 38,000 already there. This latest batch of personnel is reported to be departing in June with a mission to train Afghan forces.

Posted on Mar 26, 2009 READ MORE


Obama's virtual town hall

Obama Takes Americans’ Questions in Virtual Forum

In a bid to interact more directly with the public at large, the Obama administration once again turned to the Web, inviting Americans to submit questions for Thursday’s online “town hall” meeting. Here President Obama sets the stage with his opening remarks, discusses helping homeowners and considers whether marijuana should be legalized.

Posted on Mar 26, 2009 READ MORE


In the Garden of Eatin’

There are now 1,100 square feet on the South Lawn of the White House being transformed into a kitchen garden. If Americans follow the first family’s lead, the seed pack will become the new stimulus package.

Posted on Mar 26, 2009 READ MORE


The Right’s Twisted Blame Game

Listening to the president’s critics, it would be easy to believe that Obama is responsible for the deficits, bailouts, bonuses, nationalized institutions and careening markets. It would be easy to believe but it’s entirely false.

Posted on Mar 26, 2009 READ MORE


Daring to Utter the T Word

The most significant moment of Obama’s news conference concerned taxes: his defense of proposed limits on the benefits that the well-off get for their charitable contributions and mortgage payments.

Posted on Mar 26, 2009 READ MORE


Inside Bush’s War on Birth Control

A court ruling offers a chilling compendium of accounts by doctors and other FDA professionals who were routinely thwarted as they tried to make the “morning after” pill available, especially to teenagers.

Posted on Mar 26, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / Ken Lund

This Land Is Your Land, This Land Is My Land, Don’t Blow It

More than 2 million acres in nine states will be set aside as protected wilderness as soon as President Obama signs a bill just passed by Congress. Land in California, Colorado, Idaho, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia will be off-limits to development.

Posted on Mar 25, 2009 READ MORE



Senat RP / Polish Senate

EU President Calls Obama Policies ‘the Road to Hell’

Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek is currently the EU’s rotating president and, like a drunken sailor on karaoke night, he’s letting everyone know what’s on his mind. On President Obama’s economic policies, for example, he declared: “All of these steps, these combinations and permanency, is the road to hell.”

Posted on Mar 25, 2009 READ MORE


U.S.-Mexico Borderlands
newsday.com

FBI Runs for the Border

In a move that further militarizes a bloody drug war that left 6,300 people dead in 2008 alone, the White House is sending FBI agents and equipment to the U.S.-Mexico border to defend against the “spillover” of drug violence. The relocation of federal agents to the U.S. Southwest follows the dispatching of thousands of Mexican soldiers to combat drug cartels earlier this year.

Posted on Mar 25, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Elizabeth Dalziel

Obama’s Plan to Save the World

Forget about terrorism for a moment. The potential catastrophe that climate change could unleash on America makes every other national security crisis pale in comparison. President Obama cannot secure the homeland without addressing this global emergency.

Posted on Mar 24, 2009 READ MORE


Kill AIG Bonuses With a Tax? It’s a Lousy Idea

Obama needs to stop straddling and to threaten to veto any cockamamie tax scheme that emerges from Congress as retribution for the repulsive bonuses handed out at American International Group.

Posted on Mar 23, 2009 READ MORE


A Repairman, Not a Revolutionary

Timothy Geithner has not been a good performer, but he does have a vision. He sees an improved Wall Street, though one not fundamentally different from what we have now.

Posted on Mar 23, 2009 READ MORE


Karzai
Wikimedia Commons / The White House

Move Over, President Karzai, Here Comes Your Prime Minister

In an attempt to weaken Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s grip on power, certain powers that be from the West are creating a brand new prime minister position and planning to redirect funds from Karzai’s headquarters in Kabul to the provinces.

Posted on Mar 23, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / epicharmus

Taxpayers to Buy Bad Bank Assets

What a deal! Timothy Geithner’s new plan to save the banks from themselves commits American taxpayers to a massive purchase of the toxic assets that the banks had originally insisted were risk-free investments. Of course, Wall Street loved the news. Update

Posted on Mar 23, 2009 READ MORE


Less Hope Less

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Posted on Mar 22, 2009 READ MORE    


Obama Takes Cheney to School

President Obama personally conducted a tour of the White House for “60 Minutes” and in the Sunday broadcast defended his embattled treasury secretary, said sending more troops to Afghanistan was his toughest decision yet, and refused to grant a look at his wife’s vegetable garden. The president also took the opportunity to unload on Dick Cheney, who recently suggested we are less safe without torture.

Posted on Mar 22, 2009 READ MORE


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